Saskatoon, Sask. – The National Farmers Union (NFU) is expressing its extreme disappointment in the announcement made by the agriculture ministers of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia last Friday, indicating that they supported the federal government’s intention to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) single desk. “The position taken by these three provincial governments is very troubling on a number of counts. The most prominent being their disregard for farmers’ right to vote on the issue, and their complete lack of understanding of the very real negative impact this is going to have on their own economies,” stated NFU President Terry Boehm.
Section 47.1 of the Canadian Wheat Board Act clearly states that farmers must vote on any decision to remove either wheat or barley from the single desk. “It’s unbelievable how these democratically elected governments are so willing to disregard the democratic rights of farmers. Voting rights are at the very core of Canadian citizenship. Western grain farmers have worked hard to provide safe, healthy food for Canadians and the rest of the world, for generations now. Certainly they are deserving of a basic democratic right that Canada has fought for, that it stands for, and that people in less fortunate countries only dream of having,” continued Boehm.
The CWB has been shown to generate $1.5 billion in economic benefits for the Prairie region, each year. “In a time when we are faced with such economic instability, it is incredible that the federal government and the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia are so willing to disregard the economic strength and stability that the CWB provides. In fact, economic stability and security is a core function of the CWB’s activities. The CWB is essential for the economic health of these provinces and for Canada’s economy as a whole,” concluded Boehm.